James A. Carson, Ph.D., Chair
The mission of the Department of Exercise Science is to expand and disseminate the body of knowledge concerning the relationship between physical activity and human health. A key objective of the Department of Exercise Science is to expand the body of knowledge in the exercise sciences by conducting and publishing research that contributes to an understanding of the following:
- effects of acute and chronic exercise on human function and health
- physiologic and biochemical mechanisms that underlie responses and adaptations to exercise
- physiologic responses to acute and chronic exercise in special populations including children, females, the elderly, chronic disease patients, and those with neurological and/or orthopedic impairments
- neuromuscular and neurophysiological processes associated with motor skill development
- developmental and aging aspects of motor function
- appropriate methods of designing and delivering physical activity programs for purposes of health enhancement, neuromuscular rehabilitation, and perceptual-motor functioning
- behavioral and psychosocial aspects of physical activity.
The Department of Exercise Science offers the following degrees: Master of Public Health, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy.
Department Admission Requirements
Application forms for admission to the M.S. and Ph.D. graduate programs in Exercise Science may be obtained at http://gradschool.sc.edu/gap.
Applicants to the D.P.T. Program should submit an application through the Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service (www.ptcas.org).
Applicants to the MPH program should submit an application packet through the School of Public Health Application Service (www.sophas.org).
Applicants who wish to be considered for appointments as graduate assistants should complete the required Supplementary Applicant Information form and return it to the graduate director of the Department of Exercise Science. Graduate assistantship decisions begin on February 15 of each year. It is therefore advisable that all required materials be submitted prior to that date.
Graduate assistantships are not ordinarily available to students enrolled in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. In some instances students may be offered a graduate assistantship during their final two years of study. All graduate assistantships must be related to the student’s research and approved by the program director.
Master of Public Health (MPH) in Physical Activity and Public Health
Applicants to the MPH-PAPH must meet the general requirements of the University of South Carolina Graduate School. Applicants must also have completed an undergraduate program with appropriate preparation in the field in which graduate work is to be undertaken. A demonstration of a broad educational background reinforced with public health interests and experiences in physical activity must be included.
International applicants to the Master of Public Health in Physical Activity program are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in order to meet admission requirements. Applicants whose native language is not English are also required to submit a satisfactory score on the TOEFL or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 230 (computer-based) or 570 (paper-based). The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5.
Applicants must include an official transcript from each school or college previously attended (all prior postsecondary school study must be represented). In addition, there must be at least three letters of recommendation and a detailed written statement indicating the applicant’s area of interest and career goals, along with a current and complete resume.
Other requirements include:
- graduated with a rank in the upper half of the class (GPA>3.00)
- acceptable GRE score of at least 900, combined verbal and quantitative sections (the 2004-05 incoming class averaged 460 on the verbal section and 562 on the quantitative section)
- an official transcript from each school or college previously attended (all prior postsecondary school study must be represented)
- a minimum of three letters of recommendation
- a detailed written statement describing the area of interest and specific career goals.
Master of Science (M.S.)
Applicants for the M.S. program must have an earned baccalaureate degree in exercise science or related discipline from an accredited institution. The following materials and standards are required for application, but do not guarantee admission:
- Graduate School application stating specialization (exercise physiology, rehabilitation sciences, or health aspects of physical activity) with the required, nonrefundable application fee
- Graduate Record Examination scores of 450 or better on both the verbal and quantitative sections
- three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic ability
- official transcripts of all previous college/university work
- a current resume and a writing sample addressing future professional goals.
Admission is offered at two levels. Full admission status may be granted to applicants with satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination or equivalent, satisfactory references, and an undergraduate record indicating good academic performance. Conditional admission may be granted to applicants who intend ultimately to seek a graduate degree but lack one or more of the requirements for full admission status, or who are seeking graduate credit for the purpose of professional development. Nondegree status is not available to students for the D.P.T. program.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Applicants for the Ph.D. program in exercise science must have an earned baccalaureate degree in exercise science or related discipline from an accredited institution and should participate in a personal interview with the departmental admissions committee. A comprehensive academic profile is used in arriving at admission decisions. The following materials and standards are required:
- Graduate School application with stated desired area of research emphasis with the required, nonrefundable application fee
- Graduate Record Examination scores of 1000 or better on combined verbal and quantitative sections
- transcripts of all previous college/university work
- letters of recommendation from at least three professors with knowledge of the applicant’s academic performance
- a writing sample addressing future professional goals and specific research interests
- current curriculum vitae.
Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
Applicants for the D.P.T. degree in the Department of Exercise Science must have an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution. Applicants are reviewed for admission by a faculty committee and are formally approved by the Graduate School. The following materials and standards are required:
- Completed PTCAS Application
- Graduate Record Examination scores of 300 or better required on combined verbal and quantitative sections, and 3.5 on the writing section.
- Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or clinical skills
- Official transcripts from all previous college/university work (upon acceptance to the DPT Program)
- $80 supplemental application fee paid through the USC Marketplace
The applicant’s transcripts, regardless of major, must demonstrate successful completion or enrollment in the following prerequisites:
- General Physics—8* credit hours
- Elementary Statistics—3 credit hours
- Chemistry—8* credit hours
- Anatomy and Physiology—8* credit hours
- Biology—8* credit hours
* Courses must include a laboratory.
In addition to meeting the academic requirements for admission into the D.P.T. degree, students enrolled in the program must provide evidence of an annual tuberculosis screening, vaccination against diphtheria and tetanus within the last 10 years, and Hepatitis B virus immunization. Students must complete and maintain CPR certification by either the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
Master of Public Health in Physical Activity and Public Health ( MPH-PAPH )
The MPH-PAPH is intended for health professionals who have a career interest in physical activity. The purpose of the program is to provide students with opportunities to study issues germane to physical activity and public health, acquire appropriate background knowledge and experience in an epidemiological approach to public health problems as they relate to physical activity, and develop skills integral to the design, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs that are intended to promote increased physical activity in populations.
The MPH-PAPH is also designed for professionals working in physical activity programs within community or governmental settings. These settings may be city, county, or state health departments, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health maintenance organizations, medical clinics, etc. The degree offers physicians and Ph.D. research scientists an opportunity to learn about public health applications for physical activity.
Master of Science (M.S.)
The Master of Science degree in exercise science is designed to provide for in-depth, scientific, and research-based study in exercise science. Concentrations are available in exercise physiology, health aspects of physical activity, and rehabilitation sciences. Areas of specific research emphasis correspond to those of departmental faculty. The specific program of study is designated by the advisor and must conform to requirements described in the Handbook for Graduate Students in Exercise Science.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The Ph.D. program in exercise science is designed to prepare students for research careers in the exercise sciences; graduates are trained for entry into positions in universities, colleges, research institutes and research-oriented clinical settings. Areas of research emphasis correspond to those of the departmental faculty. The Ph.D. degree requires an approved program of up to 60 hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students with a master’s or DPT degree admitted to the PhD program in Exercise Science, may complete the PhD program in Exercise Science by completing a minimum of 30 additional credit hours (including 12 credit hours of dissertation preparation). Students completing the PhD must meet minimum core requirements including 12 hours in Department of Exercise Science or specific area of emphasis, 6 hours in statistics and research design and 12 hours of dissertation preparation. Programs of study are developed by the student’s advisory committee and must conform to requirements described in the Graduate Studies Bulletin. Additional information may be found in the Handbook for Graduate Students in Exercise Science.
Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)
The Physical Therapy Program at the University of South Carolina offers students a unique opportunity to develop clinical physical therapy skills in an intimate learning environment. The 3 1/3 year Clinical Doctoral program starts in August of each year and admits a small class size that allows students an opportunity to get individualized instruction and closely interact with instructors. Students complete a research project focused on clinical practice and learn the value of evidence-based practice. Following completion of the DPT, students are eligible to sit for the national physical therapy licensure exam.
Program Requirements for Exercise Science Degree Programs
A listing of specific courses needed to meet these requirements is available in the department’s Handbook for Graduate Students in Exercise Science. Areas of research emphasis in all degree programs correspond to those of the departmental faculty.
Programs and Courses
CoursesExercise SciencePhysical Therapy